Considered part of Chugach State Park, Crow Pass is regarded as one of the best hikes in the Chugach Range, if not all of Alaska. If that’s not a high benchmark, I don’t know what is! Either way, I’d have to say we’d agree. We’ve done a LOT of hiking over the course of our honeymoon and Crow Pass was absolutely one of our favorites!
A one way hike or an out and back, the two trail heads are located in Eagle River and Girdwood. A popular backpackers route at 23 miles one way, it is also a popular day hike to start at the Crow Creek trailhead in Girdwood (at the end of gravel Crow Creek Road) and cover the 4 miles out to Raven Glacier and back, which is what we did – though we already want to go back and do more of it!
Where We Stayed
While in Girdwood, we parked for $10/night in the prettiest parking lot we’d ever seen at the Alyeska Resort. We also saved a few dollars by camping a night at the largest pull off we could find on quiet Crow Creek Road because why not!
Where Was Julie Andrews?
Starting at Crow Creek trailhead, the pretty well maintained trail started out through some high brush but quickly opened up to views across the valley. There was a fork that pointed right towards Crow Pass or straight toward historic Crow Creek mining grounds. We made a right but later found that both trails lead to the same place in different ways – to the left will be a much steeper climb while to the right is longer and more gradual. We liked going right if for nothing else that we had more time to enjoy the scenery! Coming down the steeper section, which was pretty loose scree and then large talus, was not as fun. I’d personally stick to the right going up and down!
Regardless of the path taken, the views on this hike were breathtaking. It seemed every time we stopped to look around, there was another mountain or glacial waterfall coming into view – particularly since the cloud cover of the morning cleared as the day progressed. We also spotted multiple groups of mountain goats high up on the mountains.
At mile 3.5, the ground flattened out to wide open tundra in a valley among a seemingly endless number of peaks. A gorgeous A-frame cabin sat just off trail on the banks of gorgeous Crystal Lake, and can be reserved on recreation.gov. This will definitely be a target overnight place for us to stop should we find ourselves up here again, RV-less. Warming ourselves by the wood stove, drinking in the unreal scenery and watching mountain goats wander past our window – we can see it now…
A mere 0.4 miles past this, Raven Glacier started to come into view. Traversing just a little past the Crow Pass sign and where most day hikers stopped got us great views just a few hundred yards away from the face of this icy blue beauty in complete serenity. We just loved the feel of being up here – it felt on top of the world and cozy at the same time, nestled among so many gorgeous peaks. Aside from the chilly breeze coming off the glacier, that is…
This may have been one of the prettiest hikes we’ve done yet, and we were definitely glad we did it!